I’m a Bat-family loyalist, reading weekly Bat-titles, even when they fall off the rails a bit (Detective Comics) or even reach into my pockets weekly for some drawn out something or other (Batman Eternal).
I’m also a Batgirl fan and am giving the new ‘’Burnside’ creative team a shot.
One book I personally passed on the New 52 shelves was Nightwing.
At any rate, I visited Kyle Higgin’s Nightwing Vol. 1 eventually, snaking a deal on the trade. Not bad…but then another break.
With a ‘Villain’s month’, Forever Evil and Zero Year, the New 52 has an inherent problem with it’s regularly programmed books this year.
How does one randomly pick up Nightwing Vol. 5: Setting Son without wanting to pack up and move far away from The New 52 like Grayson himself?
I attempted to do this, and like an acrobat there were highs and lows from this book.
Thankfully, more tricks were landed than fell into the net.
NIGHTWING VOL. 5: SETTING SON
Writers: Kyle Higgins, Tim Seeley, Tom King
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: 12/10/14
Nightwing Vol. 5: Setting Son collects the final issues of Nightwing #25-30 plus Nightwing Annual #1.
My main criticism as a volume overall are the aforementioned inconsistencies and obvious problems with injecting crossover events into a planned out story arc.
In my opinion, most of the Zero Year stories could have been contained to the main Batman book but this Nightwing story fits in to continuity well.
I’m reminded of Batman: Year Three in which the Robin story is told revealing secrets of the circus and The Flying Graysons.
In this flashback, the superstar teenager defies his parents and ditching his parents to catch a movie in Gotham solo. Our proto-Robin saves the day and there is even a costume origin — tidbits I devour when flashback stories are told. Will Conrad nails the art, Higgins tells a great story.
It should be stated that while this might appear to be collected edition — and it is, this is more a collection of single issues, much like nearly every volume of The New 52 Superman (see the wildly erratic Vol. 4 Psi-War for example). Other top selling titles maintain a great level of integrity —even if artists change for an issue or two — like Batman, The Flash and Batman/Superman.
Next up — Batgirl in Nightwing Annual #1. The on-again/off-again relationship tension is addressed as the two team up to take on a Scooby mystery of Hollywood proportions. The cute Robin/Batgirl selfie flashback is the backbone to the Dick/Babs vignette.
Completely satisfying transition as Dick moves to Chi-town. New artist to the Bat-family Jason Masters has some great storytelling and action scenes. Good stuff!
Conrad returns for the next arc, and Dick has some pretty typical Spidey problems with his new roommates that keep shutting his window when he returns from patrol! How dare he use the front door! New villain Marionette is in deep with Mad Hatter over the next two stories, and Dick’s secret life is putting someone close to him in danger (of course).
For the third and fourth parts of this story, Russell Dauterman (Superbia, Thor, Cyclops) joins Higgins. A major Bat villain shows his true skin! Dauterman renders beautifully and it is great to see what he is doing recently with the All New Thor! In this issue, Higgins says goodbye to Dick and recaps his run. For more Chicago superhero action from Kyle, check out his new book C.O.W.L. from Image.
An ominous domino mask in a pool of blood welcomes you to new writers Tim Seeley and Tom King’s Nightwing #30. Javier Garron, Jorge Lucas and Mikel Janin split art duties. Dr. Leslie Thompkins is in trouble in The Congo, and after a fight with The Dark Knight (training, you see) Bruce convinces Dick to join Spyral.
Spyral is to Dick what H.M.S.S. Is to Bond. That’s right, Dick Grayson becomes … Agent 37.
What did we miss? Oh, I don’t know, all that stuff where Nightwing ‘died’ in Forever Evil. Seeley and Higgins both do a fair job on the recaps, but read alone, as a Nightwing fan without reference to the big event, you maybe scratching your head with Volume 5.
As I’m writing this, I’ve copped the first two issues of Grayson (before the launch, there were many previews in the Batbooks) and am excited about the new, maskless Dick Grayson out in the field with a non-Huntress Helena Bertinelli. The spy’s have hypno powers that allow them to maintain their identities.
As far as gun-toting Dicks are concerned, I’m so far OK with the concept, but maybe that is because Seeley warmed me up and got me in a tizzy by putting a train fight in Grayson #1
RIP Nightwing, as a series but hopefully we’ve seen enough of that guy for at least a while anyway.
Dick has been a busy guy under the cowl and with his nightsticks. Let’s see what he can do with some cool spy-fi gadgets and a new set of skills.
Dick’s pushing 74 and Nightwing himself is a 30 year old disco ball at this point.
Let the kid out there to try something new.